Back To The Bookbarn – October 2016

When me and sis decided on an afternoon out there was really only one destination to satisfy our shared passion for all things vintage and booky – Bookbarn International!  Yeah!!!!

I’ve written about the Bookbarn before so won’t go over old ground but briefly, it’s THE best place to go if you have a book addiction.  It’s a warehouse holding over a million books, the majority of which are £1 each.  That’s basically all you need to know… other than the on-site vegetarian cafe is easily one of the best cafes I have eaten in.  I could fill this blog just praising their grub (and seriously good coffee) but I want to write about my latest haul of books and images so trust me on this one – the cafe is superb.

One of the things I love about the volume of books at the Bookbarn is the inevitable oddities you come across.  If you’re a fan of the obscure then you will be in your element.  From exotic pet manuals to long-forgotten 1970’s TV tie-ins, there is a plethora of unusual publishings to keep you company on these upcoming winter evenings.

My camera crashed in the barn and I could only salvage 3 photos and here they are!  Barbara Windsor’s Book of Boobs…


A Harrison Ford biography penned by MINTY CLINCH!!! What a name!!!


and speaking of names, a book by my extremely-posh namesake…


Although I have to admit, I’m a bit disappointed Plantagenet Somerset Fry is doing a book on Inexpensive Antiques… with a name like that surely he should be writing about VERY Expensive Antiques, no?!

I bought too many books to show you all of them (they’re £1 each! Don’t blame me!!!)  But here are a few of my favourites… A couple of these came from the rare books section behind the front desk where some books are priced a bit higher.  All below cost £4 each – still a complete steal!

One thing I have learned over the years is that girls’ books have much better illustrations than boys’ books.  They tend to be fresher and brighter.  Boys’ books are heavily illustrated with grey pics of transport and battles, girls got beautiful illustrations like these below.

Aside from the colour plates, vintage books for older children also had a vast amount of line drawings.  I love the style and movement in them.  It’s a shame photography came along and replaced them.

My favourite find of the day (apart from Minty Clinch) is this Favourite Fairy Tales book with 24 colour plates by Margaret W Tarrant.  It cost me £4… that’s 6 colour plates per pound.  A bargain in anyone’s book.

Also, I love this little booklet.  It’s a fantastic art resource with over 550 illustrations of Prehistoric and Roman Britain. It’s packed full with line drawings of everything from buildings, tools and weapons to people and animals, I’m adding it to the database, I’m sure it will come in very handy.

I also found a few later (60s/70s) books in the children’s section (where books are 50p each!) Each page is full of colourful illustrations like these below.

I bought about 30 books altogether and these are just a selection.  If you’re a book fan I urge you to go to the Bookbarn.  It is definitely worth a day trip from London.  With the fantastic cafe there it is easy to while away a few hours…

Details and directions can be found on the Bookbarn International website right here —> Bookbarn International

If you like books, you might like my range of bookish greeting cards. To see them click the pic below.


Richard Fry

30th October 2016


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